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New York nuclear plant closing

Apr 03, 2016 12:07 am
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Andrea Sears reports from New York News Connection for Public News Service that the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego will permanently shut down next January.

Entergy, the plant's owner, has sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirming the date. The GE boiling-water reactor, the same design as the reactors at Fukushima, Japan, has been losing money for years.

The announcement was welcome news to Jessica Azulay, program director at the Alliance for a Green Economy, which has been calling for the closing of the plant for the past four years.

"We're relieved to know that there's a date certain that this reactor will stop operating," she said. "We've been extremely concerned about safety issues at the reactor."

Because FitzPatrick is a major source of tax revenue for Oswego County and employs more than 600 people, local elected officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo still are hoping to keep the plant open. However, Azulay pointed out that the years-long process of decommissioning the facility will require a significant number of workers.

"So, that's one of our key demands," she said, "to make sure that that decommissioning process begins right away and that a big portion of the current workforce stays on to do that decommissioning work."

If passed, a provision in the state budget bill being voted on Thursday night would provide up to $30 million to communities that lose property taxes because of the closing of an electric generating facility.

Two other nuclear power plants in the state are losing money. According to Azulay, the state is considering a Clean Energy Standard that would support the development of renewable-energy sources, including wind and solar, "but would also force ratepayers to subsidize nuclear power plants. The decision-making over that will happen over the next few months, and we're opposing nuclear subsidies in that deal."

Cuomo has called for the closing of the problem-plagued Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, located 25 miles north of New York City.

Entergy's letter to the NRC is online at static1.1.sqspcdn.com.